Milton Hershey School sued over Evangelical activities by former employees claiming religious discrimination

By Bree Gonzales | Oct 19, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Former employees are suing a school, citing alleged religious discrimination and wrongful termination.

Bradley G. Darrington and Val Darrington filed a complaint on Oct. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Milton Hershey School, alleging violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

According to the complaint, on May 13, 2013, Bradley G. Darrington and Val Darrington were hired by defendants as house parents and were assigned within its Senior Division, specifically caring for male students in grades nine through 12. 

Beginning January 2016 and continuing through the course of their employment, plaintiffs allege defendant engaged in mandatory Evangelical religious activities directed at its employees and students. These actions occurred despite the fact that during their interview, defendant assured them it was non-sectarian position and that participation in religious training or proselytizing to students was not part of the job duties and prohibited under the school policies, the suit says.

However, when they declined to participate in defendant's religious program and reported the discriminatory conduct, their employment was terminated. 

The plaintiffs hold Milton Hershey School responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to prevent or address the discriminatory conduct and failed to take corrective and remedial measures to make the workplace free of discriminatory conduct.

The plaintiffs requests a trial by jury and seeks permanent injunction, award compensatory and punitive damages, costs of action and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate. They are represented by Katherine Oeltjen and Fernando Rivera of Console Mattiacci Law, LLC in Philadelphia.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 5:18-cv-04265-GJP.

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Console Mattiacci Law LLC U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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